Set during the Pacific War against the Japanese, this WW2 drama discerns between achieving one's mission at any cost versus preserving the lives under one's command and enforcing discipline through fear as opposed to mutual respect.
When the U.S. forces withdraw from Java, ahead of the Japanese invasion, U.S. Navy doctor Corydon M. Wassell coordinates the remaining wounded servicemen and leads them to safety towards the last Allied evacuation points.
In the Pacific during World War 2, the officers live a comfortable life with good food, good drink and good quarters. To them, war is a game which they know they will win and the common soldiers are the pawns on the board. When the campaign slows down, the Commander sends a squad to the top of a mountain behind enemy lines to report on the Japanese troop movements. The squad is commanded by a tough cynical Sergeant who takes no prisoners and even takes the gold from the teeth of the enemy dead. Before the mission starts, the lieutenant, who has had a cushy job due to a life of wealth and privilege, criticizes the Commander over his attitude towards the common soldier and is re-assigned to lead the squad. The veteran Sergeant wants to complete this mission as ordered, and he will do everything he can do to see that it is successful.Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the Norman Mailer novel, the behind-the-lines reconnaissance patrol is terminated when the members are attacked and somewhat comically run away from swarming hornets. See more »
In the film, General Cummings is shown to be a Brigadier (one star) General. In the Norman Mailer novel on which the film is based, General Cummings is a Major General (two stars), the normal rank an Army division commander holds. See more »
And this is the kind of thing that backs right up to Washington. You can imagine the conversations going on. "What's happening out there?" "What's holding them up?" "What are they doing?" But do we have any air support? No! They switched priorities on us. We're the only division in combat at the moment that doesn't have dependable air support. In the past week, we have advanced a grand total of 400 yards. Time has run out gentlemen. No doubt the troops would be happier with another general in ...
See more »
Reportedly, Norman Mailer's best-selling novel was distilled and sanitized for the screen (what book isn't?!) Many people blame this for the rather weak resultant film. The film IS fairly weak, but the adaptation can hardly be the sole cause. "From Here to Eternity" and "Peyton Place" are just two movies adapted from adult novels that were made around this time and were referred to as "unfilmable", yet the end results were magnificent. This film concerns hard as nails, embittered Ray as an amoral Sergeant who's currently in charge of a motley troop of men in the South Pacific islands during WWII. Massey co-stars as a stern General who thinks of men as little more than beads on an abacus as he tries to figure out the strategies and percentages of war. His assistant Robertson clashes with him on various points and, after one particular battle, finds himself on a deadly mission alongside Ray and his band of not-so-merry men. Ray gives an okay performance in the film, but lacks the sort of leading man magnetism that could have put this over better. Robertson is thoughtful in his part, but doesn't really shine. Massey has a strong part with many nice moments. Several well-known TV and movie actors can be found in the troop including the always reliable Jaeckel, Best (who would later make a fool of himself weekly on "Dukes of Hazzard"), Campbell (famous for a guest role on the original "Star Trek" series), the ubiquitous Jones (who has an embarrassing role as a lovesick soldier) and Rat Pack comedian Bishop (who actually gives a nicely balanced performance.) There are some horrible flashbacks featuring various women. Ray's details his ludicrously presented relationship with trashy Nichols who laughs loudly and inappropriately at the end of it. Robertson has a dream involving a pallette of society girls he apparently had dabbled with, sometimes two at a time. Real life stripper St. Cyr makes a none too impressive appearance in the beginning of the film, inspiring Jones tremendously. The worst fault the film has is it's pedestrian nature. There is very little excitement generated throughout, even when arresting events are occurring. The film suffers from tiresome shots of the soldiers marching, climbing, walking, skulking..... A lot of the momentum gets lost along the way. This is countered somewhat by several bouts of unfunny physical comedy, heated arguments among the men and moments of drunken loudness. There is just a general unfocused quality in the film, possibly caused by shifts in the direction of the plot from the novel. What's worse is that in two hours of film, most of the men don't take their shirts off at all and when a few do it's in long shots. Maybe that's what was missing! The music does little to enhance the film. Bernard Herrman (who did such miraculous things to Hitchcock films) flounders here with unmemorable work. It's not the worst war film ever made, but truly falls short of being a great one.
42 of 51 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this